Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 401–407 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Resources and Negotiation Among Highly Motivated Physician-Scientists

  • Emma Holliday
  • Kent A Griffith
  • Rochelle De Castro
  • Abigail Stewart
  • Peter Ubel
  • Reshma JagsiEmail author
Original Research



Resources, including space, equipment, funding, personnel, and protected time, are essential in academic medical careers. Negotiation often plays a key role in the distribution of these resources.


This study explored gender differences in resources, negotiation behaviors, and negotiation outcomes in a sample of career development awardees.


Postal survey of a cohort of 1,708 clinician-researchers with responses from 1,275 (75 % response rate).


Researchers who received NIH K08 or K23 awards between 2006 and 2009.


We analyzed gender differences in resources, negotiation behaviors, and negotiation outcomes, using regression models adjusted for race, K award type, K award year, degree, academic rank, specialty, and institutional funding.


Over one-fifth of respondents reported inadequate access to research space and one-third had asked for increased space or equipment. Perceived adequacy of these physical resources did not differ significantly by gender, but a higher proportion of women reported inadequate access to grants administrators (34.8 %) and statistical support (49.9 %) than men (26.9 %; p = 0.002 and 43.4 %; p = 0.025, respectively). Women were more likely to have asked for reduction in clinical hours (24.1 % vs. 19.3 %; p = 0.02) and to have raised concerns about unfair treatment (50.2 % vs. 38.2 %; p < 0.001). Overall, 42.9 % of women and 35.9 % of men asked for a raise in the two years preceding the survey (p = 0.09), and among those who had asked for increased resources, the likelihood that the request was granted did not differ significantly by gender.


Many career development award recipients report resource needs and negotiate for increased resources. Gender differences in perceived access to research support personnel exist even in this select cohort of K awardees. Institutions should provide appropriate training in negotiation and ensure adequate and equitable distribution of resources to promote academic success.


resources negotiation academic medicine gender 



The authors wish to thank the K award recipients who took the time to participate in this study. Dr. Jagsi had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.


This work was supported by Grant 5 R01 HL101997-04 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Dr. Jagsi. Dr. Ubel was also supported by grants from the NIH and by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. The funding agency played no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Ethical Review Board

This study was approved by the University of Michigan institutional review board.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Holliday
    • 1
  • Kent A Griffith
    • 4
  • Rochelle De Castro
    • 2
  • Abigail Stewart
    • 5
  • Peter Ubel
    • 3
  • Reshma Jagsi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Biostatistics UnitUniversity of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer CenterAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and Women’s Studies ProgramUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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